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Thriving in the Midst of Chaos: Parenting With Special Needs Kids

Apr 15, 2021

Episode 85: Infant Feeding Challenges With Guest Mallory Millet 

In this episode, Mallory Millet discusses feeding difficulties in infants and young children. Her three children experienced their own feeding difficulties, including difficulty nursing and reflux. She shared their stories. She noted that both speech therapists and occupational therapists (and occasionally physical therapists) can be feeding therapists, with the right training. They can assist with bottle feeding, breastfeeding, or both. If the parent feels like anything is wrong during feeding, it is beneficial to seek a specialist. If there is clicking, reflux, gas, loss of milk out of the mouth, popping on and off of the breast, coughing, or choking on liquids, it would be useful to seek an assessment. Some conditions are more likely to require feeding therapy, including cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, congenital heart disease, low tone babies, cleft palate, and cleft lip. The most common feeding issues are reflux, dysphasia, aspiration of food, and tongue tie. The earlier things are addressed, the better. A big sign to look for is open mouth posture.

To evaluate the children, a therapist will take a good history, learn about the feeding journey up to that point, will evaluate the mouth, and watch the baby feed. Feeding therapy is baby dependent, but should be pushing baby to do more, releasing tension in the baby’s mouths, education for parents of what to do at home, teaching the baby oral play, and teaching the parent how to interact during feeding time.

To help their babies, parents should get in the baby’s mouth, encourage oral play, and let baby stretch and open their neck. To help make mealtime more pleasant for mom and baby, relax during feeding time. With toddlers, don’t be afraid to push for them to try different foods, allow them to work through gagging (as long as they aren’t choking), don’t fight with them if they say no, offer preferred foods at each meal, offer one nonpreferred food at each meal, limit the amount of food on their plate, don’t make food a battle, and set up expectations early. To find a good feeding therapist, find someone who specializes in feeding therapy, ask why they do each activity and ask what the goals will be for feeding therapists.





The Infant Oral Play Guide



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Show Music:

Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Theme Song: 90s rock style by monkeyman535 under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Self Care Song: Green and Orange No Water by Duncan Alex under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Hosted by: Jessica Temple 

Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or treatment.

Copyright 2021 Jessica Temple